[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Oct 28 23:04:43 CDT 2008
Life for death-row soldier
Defence minister A.K. Antony has commuted to life imprisonment a death
sentence given by an army Summary General Court Martial after agonising
over the decision for more than a year.
The government has refused to confirm the death sentence given by a court
martial to the soldier who was found guilty of murdering his superior, a
senior defence ministry official told The Telegraph.
The governments decision lends itself to two contrasting interpretations.
At one level, it is a signal to the army that it should be more sensitive
in dealing with charges of "fragging" soldiers killing superiors. At
another, it supports taking a rigid position short of confirming death
sentences that will deter juniors from challenging or threatening their
On February 26, 2007, the court martial sentenced Sepoy Suresh Chandra
Behera of 28 Rashtriya Rifles to death for killing his commanding officer,
Lieutenant Colonel Saket Saxena. The incident took place at Harwan on the
outskirts of Srinagar on the night of October 31, 2006.
Again on May 18, 2007, another court martial sentenced to death Sepoy
Satyam Kumar of a Northern Command signals unit for killing his superior,
Havildar Padmarajan, on October 28, 2006.
Successive courts martial in 2007 sentenced at least 5 soldiers to death
for killing their superior officers or comrades in 2006.
Details of the case over which the defence minister has refused to confirm
the sentence of the court martial are not yet available. The confusion
arises because the decisions of the courts martial were not announced in
For instance, 2 death sentences were related to incidents that had taken
place on October 28 and October 31, 2006. But the first sentence was
delivered in the October 31 case.
The files of the cases have been with Antony since the orders moved up
from the Northern Command to Army Headquarters and to the government. The
defence minister is the arbiter for the government in all death sentences
given by military courts martial.
Antony was hoping he would not have to sit in judgement over such a
sensitive issue. But the delay in the constitution of the Armed Forces
Tribunal, to settle disputes in the services, compelled him to take a
The government will be guided by the defence minister's advice on
confirming sentences given by the courts martial. The soldiers sentenced
to death have the right to appeal in civil courts only after the
government endorses, or denies confirmation of, court martial verdicts. In
the present case, the government has refused to confirm the death
(source: The Telegraph)
Sotto proposes return of death penalty for drugs traffickers
Former senator Vicente"Tito" C. Sotto III, now chairman of the Dangerous
Drugs Board (DDB), said yesterday he will work for the re-imposition of
"death penalty" for those convicted for illegal drugs trafficking and
capital offenses, including heinous crimes.
Centering on drug traffickers, Sotto said "this is one serious problem
that the government must give priority to as too many families have been
gravely affected, in fact, destroyed because of this social menace, which
Sotto, the principal author of Republic Act No. 7659 enacted in 1993 which
reimposed death penalty on capital offenses, said, "the drug problem in
the Philippines has become too big in fact, its turf which used to be in
the circle of the rich, the affluent and powerful, is now felt in the
In 2006, RA 7659 was repealed as Congress made "life imprisonment" as the
maximum punishment for criminal offenses, including drug-related cases.
Sotto said that he will make proper representation with Congress for the
return of death sentence, stressing he was initiating talks with Sen.
Gregorio Honasan, chairman of the Senate committee on drugs and public
In the Philippines, sources said that there are around 5,000 "regular" and
"casual" illegal drug users.
Methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu" leads the list of the major
prohibited drugs, under the official list of DDB. Shabu is followed by
Sotto said: "The big fish are virtually scot free, the small are the only
ones jailed, and, at times, sentenced, under the Republic Act No. 9165
the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs of 2002."
Sotto is also a principal author of RA 9165, together with the late Sen.
Robert Z. Barbers and other lawmakers.
On the return of death penalty for drug traffickers, Sotto welcomed the
suggestions of heads of other government agencies and the private sector
that "this must be reimposed for drug traffickers, their brains and
Heads of agencies and groups who support the reimposition of death penalty
for drug traffickers include Senior Undersecretary Dionisio R. Santiago,
director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and
Chairman Dante Jimenez of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption.
(souce: Manila Bulletin)
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